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We’ve all gotten so used to having electricity around the clock that we can’t possibly imagine life without it. I mean, how else would we charge our mobile devices, watch TV, cook, do the laundry, and basically every other daily activity?
However, electricity can also be immensely dangerous. Electric shocks can be painful, and even fatal in some cases. Short circuits can lead to electrical fires, causing permanent damage to property and endangering lives.
This makes it important for all homeowners, and especially those of us living in older homes. We need to recognize telltale signs of electrical issues before things get out of hand. In this short read, we’re going to discuss just what these important warning signs are.
Recognizing the signs
One of the most common signs of problems with electrical wiring is getting a funny chemical odor from an electrical outlet. You should not mistake this for the smell of new electrical appliances often have when they’re plugged in for the first time.
If you ever notice a funny smell coming from an electrical outlet, switch off the outlet immediately and remove any appliance. Then, call a licensed electrician to come and take a look at the damaged wiring.
If your home’s light switches feel warm to the touch, or if you notice sparks when you operate the switch, it is a sign that either you need to replace the switches or the light fixture itself may be faulty.
Flickering lights are most often not a problem with the lights themselves, but because of a power surge caused by electrical appliances that take heavier loads being wired into the same circuit and drawing too much power. This could damage the entire circuit in the long run.
To remediate the problem, get an electrician to install dedicated lines for electrical appliances.
Read more: Is your light buzzing?
If you get a constant buzzing sound when you flip a switch or turn on an outlet, it is a telltale sign that your home electrical system is faulty. Immediately turn off the outlet, plug out any appliance, and call on an electrician to check the wiring.
If electrical switches and outlets work intermittently, it is a sign of loose or damaged wiring. This can not only lead to electrical shocks but is also a potential fire hazard. Be sure to get a professional to repair the wiring immediately.
Tripping circuit breakers
Your home’s circuit breakers are placed in the electrical panel and are designed to trip whenever a circuit overloads. This is a rare occurrence. However, if your home’s breakers trip very often, it is a sign that your home has a more serious electrical problem that needs diagnose.
Here are a few handy safety tips to help you reduce the chances of having problems with your home’s electrical service.
Always buy original products
If you see anyone offering you things like extension cords, light bulbs, or electrical appliances at rates that seem too good to be true, give them a hard pass. Chances are, these products are counterfeit and not up to industry standards or government regulations. These are capable of malfunctioning and damaging your home’s electrical system.
Invest in AFCIs
AFCI stands for Arc Fault Circuit Interrupter. Arc faults are one of the most common reasons for electrical fires. They occur normally when a breach in electrical wiring causes a circuit to shift from its intended path.
This happens more often than we assume, especially in older homes. While AFCI protection is not really cheap, it is definitely worth the money to protect yourself and your family against electrical mishaps.
Read more: AFCI circuit breakers
Use extension cords sparingly
While extension cords may be a convenience, using too many of them to power multiple devices puts stress on your home’s electrical system. So use them sparingly, and if you need more outlets, call on an electrician to install new electrical outlets for you.